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UCU responds to higher education staff report

8 January 2009

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UCU today accused the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA) of disingenuously taking credit for improved pay in the higher education sector.

The union is unhappy that UCEA - in its new report on staff recruitment and retention - has cited higher pay as one of the most attractive reasons to work in the sector. UCU said UCEA could not take any credit for the pay rises, having opposed them outright in the 2006 pay dispute.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'University staff will be unimpressed that UCEA has identified recent pay rises as an attraction for people considering a career in higher education. Those pay rises were opposed at every opportunity by the employers and would not have been achieved without the strong action taken by UCU members.'

Commenting on the findings of the 'Recruitment and retention of staff in higher education' report, Sally Hunt said: 'We are unsurprised that heavy workloads and the use of fixed-term contracts are cited as the main reasons why institutions struggle to retain academic staff. Our recent stress survey showed levels of stress in the higher education sector to be considerably higher than average. Universities are incredibly fortunate that staff are so committed to their subjects and to their jobs, but they have to understand that goodwill can only last for so long.'

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